On Sunday 23rd August, I joined award-winning filmaker Ng’endo Mukii, radio presenter Kalekye Mumo and UK-based model Komal Halai, for a discussion on defining beauty, at the invitation of our host, Victoria Rubadiri.
I’m not an expert on beauty. I’m not an expert on women. I got invited on to the panel because I asked.
If you watch my videos and read my blog, you know that I share openly and passionately about natural hair, catcalling, religion and everything in between. I don’t speak on these issues because I’m an expert- I speak because my voice gives me freedom.
Out of everything I believe about #DefiningBeauty, I hold choice in the most regard. Even where I find someone’s choice unfortunate, I still respect the fact that they made a choice. Case in point- Vera Sidika and her bleached skin. Whatever we think about her actions, the overarching principle is that she exercised her choice, which is what feminism is about. So it’s worrying when people take Vera’s actions as some kind of infringement on young girls.
When did we place the responsibility of raising our kids to Vera, Kim Kardashian or even Janet Mbugua such that we take offence at any choice they make that contradicts our perception of them? You can have endless opinions about what public figures do with their lives, but remember that the expectation is on you to inspire and raise your children in the way you feel is best. Don’t outsource your parenting duty.
As I share on my blog, I’ve become more aware of the danger of others’ expectations on my ability to share freely.
There’s a delicate balance to be made between creating content that you know is true to you and creating content exclusively to please your audience. The two definitely intersect, so there will be times where what is true to you pleases your audience. Sometimes what is true to you doesn’t please your audience. In these times remember I’m not in the business of providing inspiration for anyone’s kids. I’m not asking you to follow me or be like me so don’t hold me to account based on your expectations of me. I’m here to be me.
Be aware that the people you look up to do not exist to live up to what you expect of them. As close as your mom or as distant as public figures- they exist to be fearlessly and unapologetically them.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t be grateful for inspiring people- but living in our truest form is what is most important, in my eyes.
Thank you to everyone who watched and sent love my way! You can watch the show below.
© Tessy Maritim